Poster of "The Wrestler"

Poster of "The Wrestler"

Director: Darren Aronofsky
Writers: Robert D. Siegel
Actors: Mickey Rourke
Marisa Tomei
Evan Rachel Wood
Runtime: 109 min
MPAA: Rated R for violence, sexuality/nudity, language and some drug use

A retired wrestler brawls in the leagues of the small scenes. He suffers from a heart attack and is forced to rethink his life. Wrestling is all he knows and in the real world he’s a lonely has been.


Darren Aronofsky has made a name with dreamy, almost stoned, imagery in pictures as “Requiem for a Dream” and “The Fountain”. This picture is a total turn around for him. It is rumored that Mickey didn’t get paid for this movie by his own will.

The story is about a former wrestling star and his love of the sports. He is barely able to pay his bills for his trailer and has an affection for a local stripper. He suffers a heart attack and is told to quit the drugs and pills he uses and most of all stop wrestle. He then has to face the real world in which his daughter hates him and he’s a lonely nobody.
One might say that the movie tries to reflect similarities between the two professions of stripping and wrestling. Both Mickey’s and Marisa’s characters are performers with a stage act. Both have an invisible still tangible line between the profession and the real world.

Evan Rachel Wood and Mickey Rourke

Evan Rachel Wood and Mickey Rourke

The movie is shot like a documentary with shaky close ups and no steadycam. Against the saught style it’s shot on regular film and not shot using cheaper media. There’s no score, except for one dance scene, as to enhance the documentary feel. The only music heard are songs playing on radio, clubs or bars. It still is a feature so the actors never interact with the supposed cameraman and crew. To further deepen the sense of a harsh world and a decaying man the story is set in the late fall or early winter. So if you, the viewer and reader, don’t get the cold atmosphere despite all the hints, you will once you see the snow. Oldest trick in the book.Scripting is focused on details and the community of wrestlers rather than full of events and action. Outside the ring and club the world slithers by rather slow, cold, quiet and colorless, contrasting the ad lib adrenaline packed fights or the warmth from a loud, dark, sparkling and alive strip club.

Acting is good even when Mickey’s character meets his wrestling pals. These actors are obviously picked because of their weight and not based on their acting talents. This also enhances the documentary feel to the feature as they don’t really act but just say something in front of the lens. Rourke does great acting and should be in talks for an Oscar. Although I hardly think that he’ll get one. Tomei strikes a great performance too and to characterize a stripper takes some real guts. Both in the sense of being almost naked for a great deal of a movie’s length but also because of having to dance and strip like a professional stripper takes some great deal of boldness.

No special effects apart from the blood and some props being banged and stapled here and there.
The movie seems to ride the wave of Hollywood has beens features. Action heros with muscles aren’t popular anymore as they were in the 80’s or 90’s. So the only way for those actors to make some cash today is to play a character trying to cope with the new times. Often the tone of the movies are somewhat sarcastic. Mickey Rourke may not be Arnie, Stallone, van Damme, Dolphie or Seagal, but they all made recent movies where this subject is brought up.

Marisa Tomei and Mickey Rourke

Marisa Tomei and Mickey Rourke

Well not Arnie maybe since he’s a politician nowadays, but Stallone did a strange come back as Rocky with more reality than ever. Well “Rambo” was just another Rambo. Jean Claude van Damme did a semidocumentary about himself in “JCVD” where he’s struggling to keep his daughter as he’s ruled not a suitable father. Much because of the fading interest in his action acting. The new muscled stars today are The Rock and Vin Diesel and they both can’t make it on action movies alone, which forces them to look into more serious stories. Hence they’re not seen as action stars from the 80’s. Todays action heros are an unwilling “man on the street” who’s never been to gym. The ony reason he fights is because Big Brother with all his tech stuff sees you. And they happen to have a grudge on you. Sort of.I give “The Wrestler” following marks:

The Wrestler
Directingwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Feels like the director didn't exist during production
Scriptwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Above ordinary, no big surprises, more details than action.
Actingwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Very good.
Cinematographywww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Simple documentary feel, effective
Soundwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Plain
Scorewww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Almost none
Cuttingwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
No bigger flaws besides some incosistency
Overallwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.comwww.dyerware.com
Great movie

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